Online trips to skip the jams

The last thing you need when you’re on the road is a traffic jam. If you’re idle, you’re losing money. However, if you have Internet access you might be able to find current traffic
information that will help you avoid a delay on your route.

Most traffic sites are updated daily or hourly with road construction alerts and accident reports. The sites provide construction details, detour information and weather reports for most major interstates and state routes. You can even pay some sites to send you instant notices.

Traffic cams. Some sites offer live traffic images of selected streets or interstates, usually at interchanges. Most cams are updated every five minutes; those in low traffic areas may be hourly. You may have to refresh your Internet browser to see the latest image.

Accidents. Most sites provide a map of the area you inquire about or an alphabetical list of interstates and highways. Hazard images, such as caution triangles, are used to indicate the severity of the problem, ranging from incidental to severe. Some sites also provide the time of the accident.

Road construction. Construction delays and alternate routes are available from most sites by location. The construction zones are usually included with accidents on area maps.

Weather. Most sites list daily hazardous weather reports for the selected areas. You can browse the warning sections for detours. You can also check suggested routes for areas prone to severe weather.

Instant notices. Several sites offer pay services that provide up-to-the-minute information on traffic conditions and hazardous weather on certain routes. The service is usually less than $10 a month and can be delivered through a telephone, pager, Web-phone or PDA device.

Check your route
You can receive personalized traffic reports on up to 20 routes on your Web-enabled mobile phone, pager or PDA for $6 per month. Offers free e-mail and pager TeleWarnings to registered users.
Offers construction listings and accident reports from most state departments of transportation. Some state sites feature traffic cams and news reports. Also offers weather reports.

Partner Insights
Information to advance your business from industry suppliers
The ALL NEW Rand Tablet
Presented by Rand McNally
Provides live accident reports. Sensors in some cities estimate travel time between route points. Also offers a live traffic map showing flow and speed in some cities.
Provides real-time traffic information in 83 cities. Allows you to access a system by phone and get current conditions. Also offers traffic cams and weather conditions on select routes.
Offers more than 230 traffic cams. Most images are refreshed every two to three minutes.

Do you have questions about using computers? Ideas for this column? E-mail James Crawford at [email protected] or call him at (800) 633-5953.